View Full Version : Canadian, eh?

08-15-2008, 05:45 PM
I'm in Canada, and a fair number of my clients are in the US, but I still tend to forget about the actual geographic locales of our businesses.

To me, it's all one great big seamless internet world...until someone says, "Karen, you have such an accent." I get such a kick out of that! It reminds me that the "globality" of the internet has blurred my perception of actual time and space to some degree.

The other day, I was booking a phone meeting for a person in Hong Kong with one of my clients in New York (a 12-hour time difference). With a two-hour window of opportunity, when one of them wouldn't just be waking up and one of them going to bed, it was a challenge - a challenge largely presented because of the internet. They would likely have never done business with each other if it weren't for the internet.

How has the internet changed the way you do business across the globe?


08-15-2008, 06:01 PM
Karen, I can't say enough about how the Internet has changed business. This is especially true for me as I can easily deliver service to anywhere on the planet. Most of my work is still in the US, but not all of it. Even the non-local US work was not possible before the Internet. I used to be limited to in town or a reasonable driving distance. Now I effectively can do business with people anywhere, and face to face is not always needed. I've not had to use it yet, but the Internet even allows video conferencing which can serve as a good substitute for face to face in many cases.

What's really cool for me is that Michigan has an economy that is not doing so great, yet I am uneffected by that. It's not great for those who don't use the Internet, but it helps make the local economy less important.

I will refrain from making any statements about how political decsions that have led to Michigan's woes, but if you want to know what certain political persuasions will do when left to bear fruit, feel free to do some research on us. My main point is the Internet helps level the playing field.

08-15-2008, 11:07 PM
I think the Internet has freed us from having to settle for what is in our vicinity. People are now able to work for companies that are not in the same geographic location or even the same time zone. You can also find work you like regardless of where you actually live. It has created a lot more opportunity.

08-15-2008, 11:55 PM
I wouldn't have a business if it wasn't for the internet. Not much work for web designers offline. I have a few local clients, though I've never met most of them. My clients are mostly in the U.S. but more than 1,000 miles from here.

Oh and I've also had one client from Canada that you may know, eh.

Beyond clients I've had conversations with people from 6 of the 7 continents. I'm still looking to engage a penguin so I can get in the one remaining continent.

One thing that we're seeing happening is full businesses where the employees never meet. The work through virtual offices and at different times of day. It allows us all to work when it's more convenient for our lives instead of having to work on someone else's schedule.

I hope it will lead to more international companies. I think the more the people from around the globe work together and interact with each other the more we can all see that we're essentially the same despite physical borders and governments. Ideally I'd like to think the internet can lead to more cooperation across the planet than divisiveness.

08-16-2008, 01:21 AM
Once upon a time, say 1990 there was a corporate merger. It left two successful sales people covering the east coast of the us. One located in FL, one in NJ. The guy in FL was asked "what do you think about moving to Latin America"? Either that or you can look for a job...

Didn't speak Spanish, tossed to the wolves although my boss was doing the only thing he could to try to preserve my job.

Its an extreme eye opener living and working in foreign countries. All of my brothers and sisters kids are college age and have or have had to do exchange programs in other countries, some 3rd world.

The internet has made everything even more of a world economy than it was. The international and internet knowledge of the kids coming out of school today can only amplify that.

Actually, right now I do very little international stuff (maybe 10%), but I think as a business owner, depending on the business, you better think globally.

Aaron Hats
08-16-2008, 03:05 PM
I do a lot of international business. I've shipped hats to Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, France, Germany, Japan and Australia not to mention every state in the USA. The internet has allowed my wife and I to own a business in a location that otherwise wouldn't be able to support this kind of store. Now, you Canadians. We love you Canadians. With the current exchange rate we get tons of visitors coming down from Canada. Even if they pay full price for an item they feel they're getting a great deal and on top of that there's no sales tax. We LOVE our Canadian visitors.

08-16-2008, 04:10 PM
I think one of the fun things is how nonchalant everyone has become about doing business with people in other parts of the world. We do business with a company in England and don't even think about it, except to think about the time difference. It's almost like they were right down the block instead of an ocean away.

The world really does seem smaller.

08-16-2008, 04:42 PM
Worth mentioning, nigeria, malasia, some of the old ussr countries run a lot of scams. If they ask if you take a credit card in the email or want to use multiple credit cards thats a pretty big warning sigh. Not always though. I had an order on a Panama credit card ship to a freight forwarder in Miami. Several thousand dollars, but legit a couple of weeks ago.

Some of the other warning signs are hotmail or other free email addresses, IP traces that show the email originated in a different place (the nigerian ones often have emails that trace back to the UK). If I'm suspicious but its possible its a valid order, I send a highly inflated quote to the customer. If he doesn't complain, I know its fraud. Its difficult to check if a credit card is actually a stolen number. I have processed orders that may or may not have been fraud and charged the card. Didn't ship the product. A month later I get a call from the bank.

Part of the numbers on the credit card tell what the bank is. There used to be an online listing of the banks for the numbers but Visa made them pull that information. On a recent transaction, my bank couldn't even tell me what bank a credit card was from so I could call them and verify the transaction.

I probably get a fraudulent order email several times a month. I've never been taken, but you need to be careful.